Randomized controlled trial of local progesterone vs corticosteroid injection for carpal tunnel syndrome

Acta Neurol Scand. 2017 Oct;136(4):365-371. doi: 10.1111/ane.12739. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Objectives: A number of studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effects of progesterone and its influence on the recovery after neural injury. Few studies investigated the efficacy of local progesterone in carpal tunnel syndrome. The objective of this study was to compare the long-term effects of progesterone vs corticosteroid local injections in patients with mild and moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.

Methods: In this randomized clinical trial, 78 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome were assigned to two groups. Patients were treated with a single local injection of triamcinolone acetonide in one group and single local injection of hydroxy progesterone in the other group. Variables including pain (based on visual analogue scale), symptom severity, and functional status (based on Bostone/Levine symptom severity and functional status scale) and nerve conduction study were evaluated before and 6 months after the treatments.

Results: All outcome measures including pain and electrophysiologic findings, improved in both groups and there were no meaningful differences between two groups regarding mentioned variables except for functional outcome, which was significantly better in progesterone compared with corticosteroid group at 6-month follow-up (P=.04).

Conclusions: The efficacy of progesterone local injection in mild and moderate CTS is equal and somehow superior to corticosteroid injection for relieving symptoms and improving functional and electrophysiologic findings at long-term follow-up.

Keywords: carpal tunnel syndrome; corticosteroid; hydroxyprogesterone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Progesterone / therapeutic use*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Progesterone
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide